Dear Abby: My sister faced various life-threatening illnesses. She always said, “Never put off telling the people you love how you feel about them because you might not have a tomorrow.” She practiced what she preached, and we all knew that she loved us. When she passed away eight years ago, it was a painful loss, especially for our mother.
Last week Mom finally succeeded in talking Dad into opening a stuck drawer in a cabinet. Inside she found a letter from my sister that had been put away and forgotten years ago. In the letter my sister wrote how blessed she felt she was to have a mother like ours, how all the sacrifices Mom made for her had been appreciated and how much she loved her.
That long-forgotten letter is now my mother’s most prized possession. Please remind your readers not to take tomorrow for granted, and to tell those they love how they feel TODAY.
Julie’s Sister in Louisville, Ky.
Dear Sister: The loving message your sister wrote has conveyed her feelings from beyond the grave, and it is understandable that it is even more meaningful now than when it was written. I’m glad to remind readers to verbalize their affection for each other. But the written word is something that can be savored over and over.
Brother is a bully
Dear Abby: My brother mocks everything I do, the friends I spend time with and my politics. When we’re together, he is often condescending and confrontational. I’m tired of arguing when I go to his home and he asks me what’s going on. I have started to answer, “Nothing.” So now he tells me how “boring” I am, in addition to his other criticisms.
Abby, his comments are hurtful and I try to stay away from him, but I love my little nieces and want to be around them as they grow up.
How can I change the dynamic in our relationship? It doesn’t seem to have progressed since we were kids.
– Under Attack in New Jersey
Dear Under Attack: The dynamic in your relationship hasn’t changed since you were kids because your brother never stopped being a bully. He considers belittling you to be a form of entertainment. You can’t change him. If you point out what he’s doing, he will deny it and blame you for being “too sensitive.”
You can, however, understand his childish motivation. Ignore him as much as possible and focus your attention on your nieces.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 60069.